By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 1 April 2016:
As expected, the EU today formally announced that it is imposing sanctions against Ageela Saleh, . . .[restrict]president of the House of Representatives (HoR), Nuri Abu Sahmain, president of the Tripoli-based General National Congress, and Khalifa Ghwell, head of the Tripoli-based “government” appointed by Abu Sahmain.
It has added their names to the list of 20 or so other Libyans whose assets in the EU have been frozen and who are banned from traveling to Europe. Almost all the 20 are Qaddafi regime figures sanctioned in 2011 and several are already in jail in Libya.
The reason given by the Europeans for adding the three to the list is that they are “viewed as obstructing the implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement of 17 December 2015 and the formation of a Government of National Accord in Libya”. However, the announcement comes just two days after the Presidency Council led by Faiez Serraj arrived in Tripoli, effectively rendering the opposition of Abu Sahmain and Ghwell in large part meaningless.
For the moment, Abu Sahmain is reported still to be at the General National Congress buildings opposite the Rixos Hotel.
Ghwell was yesterday said to have left Tripoli for Misrata. This, in fact, was not true; he stayed on at the Prime Ministry building on Triq Al-Sikka. However, a usually reliable source told the Libya Herald that he had left the capital today but could not say whether he had gone to his home city of Misrata. He has been reported saying that he would resign only if told to do so by the General National Congress.
The position of Ageela Saleh is more complex. The HoR has still to vote on the GNA and the Libyan Political Agreement. Once more on Monday it was inquorate, preventing any such vote although Salah had again called on members to turn up and vote. He has done so on several occasions, but the Europeans reportedly believe that he has been going through the motions of calling for members to turn up while in reality doing everything to prevent a session from taking place.
The EU sanctions move had been widely expected, having been leaked well in advance. The EU took the lead because it was thought that any attempt to impose sanctions by the UN would be vetoed by the Russians and Chinese.
It was predicted that the Americans and Europe’s allies around the world would follow suit and likewise sanction the three figures. However, given the rapidly changing situation in Tripoli, it is now thought that they will wait and see how events develop before making any further announcements. [/restrict]